Encounters with serial rapists

By Raffique Shah
October 2, 2011

Raffique ShahI HAVE always seen sexual assault of a woman as the most heinous crime a man could commit. There are other gruesome criminal acts, of course, such as murder by multiple chop-wounds, kidnapping and torturing victims, and brutal acts of violence against children and geriatrics who cannot defend themselves. Some may argue that all crimes in which the victims suffer physical abuse can be deemed heinous.

It is rape, however, that sparks outrage, as happened following the recent incident in Chaguanas. Even before anyone was arrested for the cruel acts against a mother and daughter, the public was demanding vengeance, not justice. Now that some very young men are before the courts charged with that crime, the horror of what happened is compounded by the baby-faces of the accused. People cannot believe these boys committed such dastardly acts of cruelty. In due course, the courts will decide whether they are guilty or innocent.

Ever since I came of sexual age, I wondered how a man could rape a woman. In the intervening years, I have known many a rapist—serial offenders, buggers who target boys, jacket-and-tie plunderers who use their high offices or wealth to force themselves on women, and ordinary men who just see nothing wrong in “stealing” sex.

Sex is supposed to be a joyful experience, consensual, mutually satisfying to both persons involved. How can any man derive pleasure from copulating with a woman he must first subdue or otherwise conquer, in which the victim is unwilling, or worse, resisting or crying her heart out?

The focus today is on the highly publicised Chaguanas case. I am sure that on that very day, dozens more similar violations of women or boys took place elsewhere in this country. Rape is an everyday crime across the world, not just Trinidad and Tobago. How we work to reduce its prevalence is a question I leave to the experts in the field.

I shall take readers into the minds and lives of two serial rapists I encountered—where else?—in prison. Curiously, they both carried the same first name, and both came from deep-south Trinidad. There the similarities ended. One was a heaving giant, the other a gnat. The giant was physically menacing whereas the gnat’s demeanour was disarming.

Most prisoners treat rapists with contempt: yes, many murderers, robbers and other very violent men see themselves as being far superior to rapists. As a consequence, child-rapists or those who violate young boys or girls, or older women, are often gang-raped in prison, as a form of peer-punishment. It happened when I was in prison 40 years ago, and I would be surprised if that code has since changed.

In the cases I refer to, the gnat fooled the mutineers. We, too, wanted nothing to do with rapists or those who had committed heinous crimes (like the Abdul Malik gang), even as we assisted other prisoners who were receptive to reform. The gnat, like the giant, was a “trusted prisoner”, which meant he could move quite freely across the prison. He benefitted from our generosity with food and won our sympathy.

It was on the night before he was released that someone looked at the records book and learned that he was a rapist. It was too late for us to act on that information, although it turned out otherwise. Within 48 hours, news broke that he had raped and buggered a woman near his hometown. The police arrested him and he was charged. He escaped custody—and proceeded to bugger a little boy! Two or three rapes later, he was finally apprehended, and he returned to prison shortly thereafter.

Of course, he stayed far from us. He would end up with a stiff jail sentence. Many years later, he turned up at my work place a shadow of himself, seeking help. I gave him a few dollars, but warned him against checking me for any further help.

The giant was very boastful. He attacked couples and often related his exploits—what he did to the woman, what he made the man do—to salivating prisoners. One day, he was carrying on a session as I took my afternoon run (40-60 times around a prison yard ‘ent easy!). I felt nauseated as I picked up bits of what he said. I also felt compelled to intervene.

When I finished my run, I walked up to the group, cussed up his backside, and told him if ever I heard him carry on like that again, I would beat him to a pulp. Yes, I was smaller in stature. But I was fit, strong and had the heart of a lion. He eventually backed off and complied…and I would leave him in prison when I won my freedom.

Two years or so later, a friend and I decided to take a late afternoon dip in what is now the Pt Lisas Port area. When we got there, I spotted the giant sitting on the old jetty. Clearly, he was waiting to pounce on unsuspecting lovers who sometimes used that bay area.

As we walked towards him menacingly, he greeted me. I ignored it and asked what he was doing there. Relaxing, he said. Out, I ordered. Free country, he said. Free cutarse, too, I said, as we advanced on him. He took flight. My friend and I may have saved some hapless couple from harm.

I hate rapists. Hated them when I was a boy. Detest them now that I am an old geezer. Nuff said.

9 Responses to “Encounters with serial rapists”


  • Rank abuse of power, Raffique.

    It is the newly reported-on form of subjugation of a people during war: separating the men and boys, and repeatedly raping every woman again and again and as well, every girl child.

    Given the anthropological roles central and exclusive to women as bearers and carriers of children, and as well, their roles as teachers among a people, raping women is in essence raping the sanctity of a people; like the essence of their culture.

    Also, in individual circumstances, and similar to the possibilities inherent in racism, personally experienced or not, every woman simply by being a woman does not have to personally experience being raped to intimately and in her heart know the horrors of its ubiquitous presence and violations, since it is the crime that violates, not only the privacy of the body but even more, the sanctuary of the soul, and the sanctity of memory.

    Ironically, while rape violates ‘memory’ forcing the victim to never forget the violation, the victim, in addition and given other male attitudes to possessing the bodies of women, might never reveal what occurred unless there is an unwanted pregnancy, but must live not only in fear, but also in a state of guilt: guilt for having been at fault, and/or for having some character flaw as the reason why she had to suffer such injury and ignominy.

    The trauma left by it on a victim is multiplied astronomically when forced on a people as occurred during slavery.

    Then, the bodies of neither women nor men belonged to themselves, and with their children sold at whim away, the subsequent trauma requires, not only eons to reside, but may never ever be completely eliminated.

    There are many things with which I agree with the Cuban government and society. One of these is the execution by firing squad, toute suite, of convicted rapists and molesters of children.

    Shalom.

  • Mea culpa, mea culpa!

    Correction needed to clarify a poorly crafted line …

    … the woman might never reveal what occurred unless there is an unwanted pregnancy, but must live not only in fear, but also in a state of guilt: guilt for (thinking that she might have been) at fault (in not protecting herself properly), and/or for (also thinking that she might have had) some character flaw as the reason why she had to suffer such injury and ignominy.

    Grace and Peace.

    • Agreed w/everything stated, but not quite sure why slavery or other plagarized thoughts had to be interjected into this otherwise excellent response. The revision completely highlights this writer’s thoughts, judge, jury and executioneer. The brutality and cruelity demonstrated by rapists are not their faults. They never had a fadda to guide them with licks for days when they mis-behaved, so now the sate must provide expert psychological counseling to fix and reward them. It’s the same in the UK, USA, & Canada and many other so call developed countries. In Saudi Arabia, swift castration would be the reward for this senseless crime. Until the public and would be criminals know that swift justice, followed by deserved punishment are the rewards for their crimes, nothing would change. The education systems are impotent, no pun intended, in producing solutions to the endless dilemmas that confront Humankind.

  • A fair commentary I guess, Uncle Shah. For a momentI thought to myself after reading the headlines.Ahhh, goodness gracious , not another ‘one oh dem anti Afrikan bashing diatribes,’ favored by too many clueless , who seem to get ecstatic pleasures, in fooling themselves- like Guyanese cousins – into believing that the 25% or more,of de fast rising Dougla population in T&T , was the results of savage, dehumanizing Afrikan males, running around our Twin Island Republic ,raping our very delicate Indo Trini sisters, at every opportunity.Since dis was not the case , what can I say , but ….’maybe there is hope just yet, yes?’
    Don’t really care for no psyco- sociological explanations, as to why young illiterate ,idiots ,rape and murder, as I feel they should be simply treated to the full extent of the law, whatever that entails- nuff said.
    I am however totally against ,all forms of abuses on defenseless women, and innocent children Uncle Shah- irrespective of it’s manifestations.
    I seek an equal playing field when it comes to justice ,on all classes of people in my country- notice I did not mention race, as it’s an irrelevant boogeyman, that only trotted out by the intellectually lazy .This includes the blue color thug , and dem numerous white color bandits – whose name we would not mention for the moment.
    More importantly , I wish to turn on my internet , and read where this present regime , has a coherent economic , and social plan , to elevate our country out of the quagmire it is presently in , and which the people gave them a mandate to rectify.Not hearing how great their crime fighting strategies are , due to the fat that they arrested 2,000, and freed 1,900, due to sub par evidence, or still how evil , dem PNM , and public service fans were.
    The typical ,unmentionable , stupid political distractions, dished out daily in the media , for public consumption, gets us no where folks. As for those well known jokers , sitting in their luxury apartments across Europe , and Norte Americana , only hell bent on reminiscing on a phony glorious past, under their Papa deffy Eric Williams, and his clueless other stooges of Chambers , ANR, and Manning the clown , I say , enough already, with dem fake Afrikans , that contributed to the social morass we are stuck in!
    Likewise the apologist , for criminals such as Basdeo Panday , and his divisive brand of politics , I can do without.
    Time for collective efforts on nation building. Ideas people . Much luv to nation ,and people, and unrealistic as it is, may the day present itself- both for Uncle Shah , and myself , when all forms of crimes ,are seen as reprehensible by our citizens, and they would all cease forthwith, from committing same , not through fear, but because it’s the decent thing to do by a civilized people.

  • I wonder how Mr. Shah feels about boys who were raped as children who then grew up to be rapist? Is there ever a time to not generalize people based on thier crimes? What about 18 year old men branded as rapist simply because they are caught having sex with a consenting 16 of 17 year old girl? None of these scenarios apply to me by the way, I’m just interested in what others think.

  • Linda Edwards, class of '67

    There s a mangoloid android aat the WordPress desk who considered my comment citing the evidence from history that acclaamatizes us to this, as “Spammy” and exed it out. That is why women tend to say “shit on that, let the men talk” I will not retype a long piece. I have gardening ewaiting.

  • Don`t worry Raf, the DPP will find no grounds to prosecute them, just like the others recently.

    • M.Rampersad, TnT does not need more cynics.

      Intellectually, cynicism is at best talk that is cheap and cheapening, bankrupt and insincere.

      Operationally, it is not an alternative to, nor a replacement for sound policy and effective implementation.

      Personally, it is a reflection of weakness both in one’s argument and one’s character.

      You must, and can do better.

      Shalom.

  • Shalom, why dont you tell that to Rowley,Imbut and the rest ? Where were you when Manning was ruining the Country ?
    You should give these clowns your good advice,

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